NSF had recently put out a solicitation for the Management of the UNOLS Technician Pool. Solicitation NSF 15-525 calls for a cooperative agreement with NSF/GEO/OCE to host the Tech Pool. The mission is to provide operating institutions with greater flexibility in achieving optimal staffing levels to support at-sea and shore-side work, while at the same time operating in a more cost effective and efficient manner. NSF seeks creative proposals from institutions to fill this role for the Academic Fleet.
Detailed instructions on the proposal requirements are provided in the solicitation (http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15525/nsf15525.htm). The purpose of this letter is to encourage institutions to think about this concept and to participate in the process by writing a proposal. Although every effort has been made to write a clear solicitation, the Program realizes that there will be many questions. Starting immediately, the protocol for asking questions will be through a forum on the UNOLS web site. Questions should be emailed to the UNOLS office with the subject: NSF Solicitation 15-525, and will be answered by the NSF on a weekly basis. The questions will be anonymously posted with the answers on the forum which can be found on the UNOLS website (https://www.unols.org/nsf-solicitation-15-525-management-unols-marine-technician-pool), which can be found by going to the "Other Resources and Links" section of the Research Vessel Technical Enhancement Committee Page.
Although suggestions are provided within the solicitation as a means for directing thought, please do not be constrained by this. NSF seeks new and creative suggestions to this complicated problem. The future of the program is largely in your hands so you are encouraged to write a proposal. The deadline for proposals is April 15, 2015.